How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits from Kitchen Scraps: Tomatoes

by on February 19, 2012

This is the second in a series on how to best use the scraps from fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. In the first installment we talked about pineapple.

UrbanFig: Tomatoes

Not only are tomatoes one of the most popular fruits in the garden (yeah, they’re fruit, not vegetable), they are a lot of fun to grow in the urban garden environment too. If you are growing your own heirloom tomatoes or buying good quality heirlooms from your local farmers market, you can turn those kitchen scraps into new tomato plants, provided you know just a little about how it all works. Let’s start with the tomato goo. You know, that gelatinous blob of stuff that many recipes tell you to remove when you are preparing the tomato?  Yeah, that stuff is gold. We need to reduce that puddle of goo into a stockpile of usable seed, but it isn’t as simple as dropping it in the ground, at least when it comes to tomato seeds.  Here’s what you need to do:

UrbanFig: Saving Tomato Seeds

  1. Scoop the inner membrane of a fully ripened tomato (the “goo”) into a clean jar and cover it with about an inch of water.
  2. Cover the jar opening with a paper towel, coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth and secure it with an elastic band.
  3. Place the jar in an out of the way location and leave it along for 4-5 days.
  4. When you return to the jar, you will see a rather ugly layer of mold floating atop the water. It may gross you out or win you a “Coolest Mom” contest, depending on your kids, but this is both natural and important in the process of saving tomato seeds. This step in the process breaks down the jelly-like substance that protects the seed, making them viable for growing.
  5. Skim the mold from the surface and pour the seeds into a strainer. Rinse with cool water and use your fingers to remove the last bits of goo and debris so that all of the seeds are completely clean.
  6. Spread the seeds on a paper towel, paper plate or sheet of newspaper and allow them to air dry for a few days before packing them in clearly-labeled containers.

Once you have followed these steps, your seed is ready for growing and you can start these tomato seeds as you would any other.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle | Green Earth Bazaar February 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I’ve wanted to start growing my own veggies and fruits from left over seeds, but haven’t had the motivation to do it until now. Your instructions seem very straight forward and the whole process seems fairly simple – I can’t wait to give it a try! I’ve only grown tomatoes in the past from seedlings. Thanks for sharing this!

Peace. 😉


Carol February 23, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear about your new gardening experiences. Thanks for being part of UrbanFig. Email or comment if you need any help. Happy gardening!


Taahir September 16, 2012 at 7:31 AM

hi, thanks for this great tip. I will need to replant them 🙂

Has anyone had any luck with this ?



Jefferey August 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Because this substance is such a potent antioxidant, and that it
has been shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth
of cancer cells, it makes perfect sense that increasing your
daily intake of this carotenoid would aid in reducing your
risk of developing cancer. Acidic food like tomatoes caused some of
the lead to leach into the food, leading to lead poisoning.

When not possible, canned tomatoes are more healthful – the tomatoes found in canned tomatoes are typically allowed to ripen
before processing.


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